Fairley's play helped him earn a four-year, $28 million extension in March.
Fox Sports' Jennifer Hale reported earlier in the month Fairley had missed organized team activities after medical tests revealed he had a heart problem. Rankins accounted for 20 total tackles and 4.0 sacks last season, numbers that lead the Saints' available defensive linemen.
However, Payton explained that Fairley's condition had apparently worsened or become more concerning this year.
Fairley sometimes struggled to meet expectations during his first five pro seasons.
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Saints coach Sean Payton has said at least one specialist recommended that Fairley give up football.
Fairley has played for three different teams since being drafted 13th overall in 2011.
Under NFI rules, the Saints are not required to pay Fairley his $1 million base salary this year since his injury was not related to football. Fairley recorded career-highs in tackles (43) and sacks (6.5) in 2016 and was expected to play a vital role in New Orleans' front seven.
The post Injury Update: Saints' Nick Fairley Out for Season appeared first on Cover32.
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